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How To Tell If You Need a Dental Filling

A dental filling is an effective way to restore a tooth with a cavity. Different types of fillings can get the job done. Today, our Vancouver dentists explain when fillings are used, and describe different types of fillings to consider. 

What are dental fillings?

These common dental restorations are used to restore the structure, function and appearance of a tooth that's been damaged or decayed, alleviating tooth pain you may be experiencing.

Why are dental fillings used?

Tooth fillings can fix fractures, cracks, or tooth decay. They help restore functionality to your tooth and in some circumstances, dental fillings can be used to make cosmetic improvements to your smile. 

What are some signs I may need a dental filling?

It's important to see a dentist to confirm whether you need a filling, however, there are some signs that you may have a cavity that needs a tooth filling. If you experience any of these, schedule an appointment with your dentist:

    1. You notice a sharp or throbbing pain in one of your teeth.
    2. When you examine your teeth, you see a hole or dark spot in a particular tooth. 
    3. You notice that you have a tooth that is broken or chipped. 
    4. You have a tooth that feels rough to the touch. 
    5. Food keeps getting stuck between certain teeth. 
    6. An existing tooth filling has broken or cracked. 
    7. You've lost a tooth filling and need a replacement.

    What are dental fillings made of?

    Dental fillings can be made of a variety of materials, ranging from amalgam to composite, porcelain and even gold. While each of these materials is safe and long-lasting, each has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to repairing a cavity or decay. Today, our dentists provide advice on how to make the right dental choice for you. 

    Porcelain Fillings Are Often Used For Their Strength & Appearance

    Also called inlays and onlays, porcelain fillings are brittle, hard, and made in combination with metal. Made in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist to place, these strong, tooth-coloured dental restorations are typically used on molars as they are more durable and longer lasting than a regular dental filling. 

    It typically takes two dental appointments to have a porcelain filling placed.

    Composite Fillings Can Provide Your Smile With Natural Look & Feel

    Because they are very similar in colour to natural teeth, composite fillings tend to blend in well with the surrounding teeth.

    These dental fillings look and feel natural, and are popular with patients who are concerned with how amalgam (silver) fillings may appear on teeth that are visible when they smile.

    Dentists like composites because they are easy to sculpt and shape onto a tooth, and bond naturally to a tooth. This means your dentist won’t need to remove as much existing enamel when preparing the tooth.

    Your dentist will begin by removing tooth decay and adding bonding material to the inside of the hole so the filling can be placed. Composite resin is then layered in the hole.

    A curing light is used to harden each layer. When the last layer of resin has hardened, the filling will be carefully shaped to match your natural teeth.

    Gold Fillings May Offer Increased Durability 

    Cast gold fillings are made using a model of your tooth. Created from a mix of gold combined with other materials such as copper and silver, a cast gold filling is created in a dental lab and sent back to your dentist.

    Your custom-made gold filling will then be cemented in place inside your mouth. Though this type of filling is considered the most durable (typically lasting 20 years or more) it is also the most costly. You'll also require at least two dental appointments to have it placed.

    Would you like to learn more about which dental fillings are available at Broadway Station Dental Centre, or schedule an appointment? Please contact our Vancouver dentists today to book a dental exam.

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